The National Rifle Association (NRA) has expressed severe criticism of a new rule proposed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), warning that it could inadvertently criminalize ordinary citizens for legitimate firearm sales, thereby causing widespread uncertainty among lawful gun owners.
NRA-ILA Executive Director Randy Kozuch, in a conversation with Fox News Digital, denounced the proposed regulation, ATF2022R-17, as an overreach that threatens Second Amendment protections and overlooks the implications of the recent Supreme Court’s Bruen decision. Kozuch argues that the rule could ensnare well-meaning Americans who buy and sell firearms for a range of legitimate reasons, such as collecting or self-defense.
The ATF’s proposed amendment, referred to as “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms,” aims to redefine what constitutes a “dealer” in the context of firearm sales. It seeks to include individuals who demonstrate a pattern of selling firearms, regardless of whether the profit is in cash or other forms of value, such as property or services. This redefinition follows the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—a piece of gun control legislation that President Biden enacted in June 2022.
This legislation is considered by many gun control advocates as the most consequential in decades, promoting red flag laws and broadening background checks for young adults. However, the NRA contends that the ambiguity it introduces could lead to honest gun owners questioning whether their transactions necessitate a federal firearms license.
Kozuch contends that the administration should concentrate on enforcing current laws and revising policies perceived as lenient towards criminal activity, rather than imposing regulations that impact law-abiding citizens.
The ATF’s proposal, released for public commentary from early September to early December, drew over 330,000 responses, including a detailed objection from the NRA. The NRA’s response highlighted the confusion the rule would cause among gun enthusiasts, particularly collectors and competitive shooters who frequently engage in buying and selling firearms.
Adding to the opposition, Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led 26 attorneys general in a collective denouncement of the rule, labeling it a “shocking and unconstitutional attack” on the Second Amendment. They argue that the rule’s broad scope could penalize individuals for simple transactions, such as selling a firearm within a family, even if the sale yields a minimal profit.
The NRA lauded the action taken by Knudsen and the attorney generals, praising them for standing by their oath of office and vowing to steadfastly challenge the proposed rule to defend constitutional freedoms. As of the latest reports, neither the ATF nor the White House has provided comments regarding the NRA’s assertions.